What are automated market makers

What is an Automated Market Maker (AMM)?

Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) operate uniquely, relying on Automated Market Makers (AMMs) for trade execution, liquidity, and autonomy. This algorithmic approach contrasts with traditional exchanges that utilize centralized order books. 


AMMs play a pivotal role in the rapid growth of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) on blockchains like Ethereum, impacting crypto trading automation and liquidity provision. They offer advantages like ease of market setup and have garnered attention for their potential capacity to compete with traditional systems. 


Understanding Market Making and Market Makers

At its core, crypto market making is about fair price discovery through supplying liquidity to markets. It serves as the mechanism that links buyers and sellers, determining the financial instrument’s market price. 


To counteract large trades influencing an asset’s market price, crypto trading platforms often collaborate with market makers to keep markets liquid. These are the liquidity providers who actively place buy and sell orders to ensure a stable marketplace. 


The act of maintaining the market fluidity is termed crypto market making, and the entities that accomplish it are the market makers.


Automated Market Maker and Decentralized Trading

With the advent of decentralized exchanges (DEXs), the landscape has shifted. These platforms cut out the middlemen and enable trades directly from users’ non-custodial wallets, which are secured by the users’ private keys. The absence of an order book and the introduction of smart contracts are central to the working of DEXs.

One of the most interesting aspects of Automated Market Makers is that they are open to everyone. In contrast to traditional settings, where only high-net-worth entities could serve as liquidity providers, AMMs allow anyone meeting smart contract conditions to contribute liquidity. 

How do Automatic Market Makers work?

Automated Market Makers serve as a foundational element in the evolving landscape of decentralized finance, particularly in decentralized exchanges


In traditional decentralized exchanges, trading is often conducted on a peer-to-peer (P2P) basis, requiring a counterparty for each transaction. AMMs, on the other hand, operate on a peer-to-contract (P2C) model, allowing users to trade directly with a smart contract. AMMs employ algorithmic formulas to maintain a stable and consistent level of liquidity within these pools. 

Different types of Automated Market Makers 

Automated Market Makers operate through different models, each with its unique characteristics and advantages.

  • Constant Product Market Maker – CPMM

The Constant Product Market Maker is like a see-saw at a playground. Imagine you have two baskets at either end of the see-saw, each filled with a different type of fruit – say, apples and oranges. Now, whenever you add more apples to one basket, you’ll need to remove some oranges from the other to keep the see-saw balanced. This model makes sure there’s always fruit in both baskets, but the more you take from one, the costlier the remaining fruit becomes.

  • Constant Sum Market Maker – CSMM

We could liken Constant Sum Market Maker to a game of tug-of-war. Here, you have a rope with two sides, and each side represents an asset. The idea is to keep the rope perfectly level, so neither side gains an advantage. While this approach is great for maintaining a balanced rope, it has a critical drawback. If one side pulls too hard, the other side can lose all its ground, meaning all the assets end up on one side of the rope. This makes trading risky, and that’s why this model isn’t as popular.

  • Constant Mean Market Maker – CMMM

A Constant Mean Market Maker is similar to a multi-tiered cake. Unlike the two previous models, which deal with only two types of assets, this one can include multiple layers, or asset types. Each layer can have a different thickness, representing its share in the entire cake. This offers more choices for people to pick and choose from, providing flexibility and variety in trading options.

Liquidity provider benefits in AMMs

Central to AMMs are liquidity providers, individuals or entities who deposit funds into crypto liquidity pools. These pools function as repositories of assets that facilitate trading on decentralized platforms. In return for their contribution, liquidity providers earn a portion of transaction fees.


To encourage automated liquidity provision, AMM strategies typically offer a range of incentives. A common practice is to distribute LP tokens, which are a representation of a provider’s share in a pool. These tokens entitle holders to a pro-rata share of the fees generated from trades within the pool. For instance, if a provider contributes assets that constitute 1% of a pool’s total liquidity, they receive LP tokens that entitle them to 1% of the transaction fees collected.


In addition to financial incentives, some AMMs issue governance tokens. These tokens empower holders with voting rights, allowing them to influence the direction and policies of the decentralized exchange, thereby deepening their involvement and investment in the ecosystem.

Yield Farming explained

Yield farming, a relatively novel strategy in the realm of decentralized finance (DeFi), has captured attention for its potential returns.

Process of Yield Farming

Yield farming is essentially a form of liquidity provision where users deposit their cryptocurrency into a liquidity pool and in return, receive rewards. These rewards often come in the form of governance or utility tokens and are additional to the typical trading fees collected by liquidity providers. 

Yield Farming Opportunities on AMMs

Liquidity providers can not only earn from trade fees, but also accumulate rewards in the form of additional tokens. These tokens can either be native to the AMM platforms or belong to a partnered project, thus creating dual or even multiple streams of income. 

Strategies for Maximizing Yield Farming Returns

Users often pool hop, moving their assets from one liquidity pool to another to chase the highest returns. However, it’s crucial to factor in associated costs like gas fees, especially on networks like Ethereum. Furthermore, some yield farmers use leveraged positions to amplify their returns, although this comes with its set of risks. 

Managing Risks in Yield Farming

Price volatility can significantly impact the underlying assets in a liquidity pool. There’s also the risk of impermanent loss, which occurs when the price ratio of assets in a pool changes unfavorably, resulting in a potential loss when compared to simply holding the assets.

  • Impermanent Loss

Impermanent loss is a risk liquidity providers (LPs) face in AMMs. The issue arises when token values in a pool differ from market rates, inviting arbitrageurs to profit at LPs’ expense. The loss becomes permanent if you exit at a different price ratio. Token pairs like stablecoins minimize this risk, while volatile pairs like ETH/DAI may offer higher fees to offset potential losses.

  • Low Capital Efficiency

Unlike traditional exchanges, where DeFi market makers set specific buy/sell prices, Automatic Market Makers use an algorithm, leaving much liquidity unused. This so-called lazy liquidity makes AMMs less capital-efficient, yet they attract users due to easy participation without active management.

Enhancing AMM Efficiency with Hybrid, Dynamic, Proactive and Virtual Solutions

In the evolving landscape of Automated Market Makers (AMMs), innovation is key for optimizing efficiency and flexibility. Hybrid, Dynamic, Proactive, and Virtual AMMs are revolutionizing crypto market making in the decentralized world. 

  • Hybrid CFMMs

Recent developments in automated market-making crypto have brought forth Hybrid Constant Function Market Makers (CFMMs). These advanced systems, such as Curve’s AMMs, employ a unique formula that fuses various parameters to craft an exchange rate curve that minimizes price impact while maximizing efficiency. This setup lets liquidity providers rake in fees while still allowing arbitrageurs to keep the pool balanced. Especially appealing for stablecoins.

  • Dynamic Automated Market Maker (DAMM)

By integrating price feeds and gauging implied volatility, the DAMM model adjusts the liquidity along the price curve in real-time. This results in higher capital efficiency during tranquil market periods, while also expanding the liquidity pool during turbulent times to protect traders.

  • Proactive Market Maker – PMM

Unlike AMMs that run solely on predetermined algorithms, DODO’s Proactive Market Maker (PMM) model mimics the market-making practices seen in traditional centralized exchanges. It uses real-time market data to shift its price curve dynamically, thereby reducing impairment loss for liquidity providers. This makes it remarkably agile and responsive to market shifts.

  • Virtual Automated Market Makers – vAMM

Virtual Automated Market Makers (vAMMs), as implemented by Perpetual Protocol, bring a unique twist to the table. They employ a model where traders deposit collateral into a smart contract instead of a liquidity pool, allowing for the trading of synthetic assets. This arrangement boosts efficiency but also carries the risk of liquidation if the market doesn’t favor your position.

  • Replicating Market Maker – RMM 

The RMM system employs a method that continually adjusts a portfolio to meet a pre-set financial objective. It’s particularly useful for creating custom hedges against various market risks. However, it relies heavily on the activity of arbitrageurs to ensure the payoff matches the desired outcome, thus making it more suited for larger pools.


FAQs on Automated Market Makers


What risks come with automated crypto market makers? 

Automated crypto market makers carry the risk of impermanent loss, where liquidity providers can lose capital if the asset prices in a pool diverge significantly. Additionally, smart contract vulnerabilities can pose security risks. DeFi trading comes with substantial risks. 

How does automated crypto market-making differ from traditional trading?

Traditional trading relies on order books to match buyers and sellers, while automated market-making uses algorithms to set prices. The former offers higher capital efficiency, whereas the latter ensures constant liquidity.

Which cryptos are frequently traded via automated market makers?

Popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are often traded in automated market maker platforms, alongside a myriad of tokens and stablecoins like USDC and DAI.

What do liquidity pools mean in automated crypto trading?

In automated crypto trading, liquidity pools are smart contract-based reservoirs of two tokens that enable instant trades. Users deposit assets into these pools, and they earn a cut of the trading fees in return.

How does DeFi contribute to the growth of automated market makers?

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platforms often employ a list of automated market makers to offer seamless trading experiences. DeFi’s open-access nature expands the user base, thus enhancing liquidity and effectiveness of AMMs.

What are standout examples of successful automated crypto trading platforms?

Notable platforms in the automated crypto trading sphere include Uniswap for its user-friendly interface and Curve. Both platforms come with risks. 





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